Bennett's blunder?
Polls Indicate Ohana Placement Harmed Jewish Home

Likud edges out Labor; 53% of voters negatively influenced by Bennett's soccer post as Jewish Home drops to 14.

Ari Yashar,

Eli Ohana
Eli Ohana
Uri Lenz/Flash 90

Parties submitted their Knesset lists on Thursday, and a new poll released on Friday by Maariv shows Likud squeaking past the joint list of Labor and Hatnua, while the united Arab parties come in at a strong fourth place and Jewish Home drops.

The poll gives Likud 25 mandates as opposed to 24 for Labor and Hatnua - the "Zionist camp" as they have termed themselves. Jewish Home, shown in other polls to get around 15 or 16 seats, is shown in the poll as receiving only 14.

Coming in at fourth is the joint list of the Arab parties Balad, Hadash, United Arab List and MK Ahmed Tibi's Ta'al that recently broke off. All together they bag 12 seats.

Yesh Atid is given 11 in the poll, with United Torah Judaism getting eight, as does Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu. Shas is shown as receiving seven mandates, the radical leftist Meretz party comes in at six, and Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu continues to wallow with just five mandates.

The poll shows Yachad - Ha'am Itanu running separately from Otzma Yehudit and predicts neither passing; however, the two finally sealed a joint list on Thursday, a move that is likely to see them make it comfortably past the threshold, with one poll predicting as many as seven mandates between them.

Jewish Home's soccer woes

In the survey respondents were asked regarding other factors in the elections as well, with one topic being Jewish Home chair Naftali Bennett's controversial decision to reserve the eighth spot for the politically inexperienced former soccer player Eli Ohana - a move met by an uproar within the party.

The poll found that 53% of all voters and 41% of Jewish Home voters are negatively influenced by Bennett's move - evidently the data was collected before Ohana decided to bow out on Thursday, although the impact from the decision is likely to linger.

Likewise, 50% of all voters and 39% of Jewish Home voters felt the placement of the soccer player weakened the party.

In light of the lethal Hezbollah attack on Wednesday that left two IDF soldiers dead, voters were also asked as to how the security situation would influence their selection.

A full 39% said the security situation would indeed influence who they pick in the elections, as opposed to just 25% who answered similarly regarding the economic situation, and just 14% regarding social justice.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) comfortably maintains support for holding his post, with 25% backing him to remain defense minister, as opposed to 17% for Bennett and 14% for Amos Yadlin.

In terms of security, 52% trust Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and 59% Ya'alon, while a full 46% don't trust Netanyahu for security, and 35% don't trust Ya'alon - the figures of mistrust are reportedly very high for politicians currently serving as prime minister and defense minister.

Another poll still gives Jewish Home 14

The poll comes on the heels of a survey conducted by Telecaster for Channel 1 which was published on Thursday, and which showed similar, as well as shockingly different, results.

The first point of departure is that Likud is given a massive 27 mandates, higher than recent polls have been giving it. Labor is still one seat behind at 26.

Jewish Home gets a low 14 seats in the Channel 1 poll as well, which as noted is a drop from previous surveys possibly linked to the Ohana placement. The Arab list is likewise given 12 mandates.

Yesh Atid gets a mere eight seats, as does United Torah Judaism, while Shas and Yisrael Beytenu receive seven each. Kulanu drops to a mere six and Meretz stands at five.

The poll indicates Ha'am Itanu and Otzma Yehudit not passing, but as noted it too was conducted before the two formed a joint list. Their results in unified efforts under their submitted joint list remain to be seen.